The son of a Russian parliament member was arrested by U.S. secret service at Male International Airport in order to stand trial for credit card hacking. Russia says the arrest violates a bilateral treaty and amounts to kidnapping.
The man’s father, Duma member Valery Seleznyov, suspects the U.S. will try to exchange Roman Seleznyov, 30, for National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Seleznyov is accused of credit card hacking in the U.S. from 2009 to 2011. He was indicted in 2011 on charges including aggravated identity theft, bank fraud and illegally accessing information. He is believed to be one of the most prolific traffickers of stolen financial information in the world.
He was forced to board a plane from the Maldives to Guam, where he was arrested.
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"This important arrest sends a clear message: despite the increasingly borderless nature of transitional organized crime, the long arm of justice - and this Department - will continue to disrupt and dismantle sophisticated criminal organizations," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said.
The Russian ministry is calling it “a de-facto kidnapping,” according to RT. Moscow called it “a new hostile move by Washington.”
“For all I know they may be demanding a ransom tomorrow,” Seleznyov’s father said. "Or try to exchange him for [NSA whistleblower Edward] Snowden or somebody. One can only wonder.”
Valery Seleznyov denies the allegations and says his son can barely use a computer.
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He claims Americans are denying his son’s rights.
“They took him to Guam because American law is not fully applicable there,” he claimed.
"We consider this as the latest unfriendly move from Washington," the Russian Foreign Ministry website states. "This is not the first time the U.S. side, ignoring a bilateral treaty ... on mutual assistance in criminal matters, has gone ahead with what amounts to the kidnapping of a Russian citizen."